THE Ford Puma is Ford's best seller in the UK and it also recently became Britain's most popular new car.
I have sampled just about every version of it since it arrived on the scene back in 2020 and it is still one of my favourite cars.
It brought something new to the Crossover party when it was launched and it rightly met with huge praise for its style and innovative features.
Many of you will remember the Puma name when it first featured on a Fiesta based sports coupe back in 1997 and it was very popular but only stayed in production for four years.
This time the Puma is a completely different animal and is a big hit all over Europe.
That is because it has bags of style, great looks, is fun to drive, economical to run and very practical.
It also has some neat touches like the pouncing Puma that appears in the dash when you press the starter button or as a puddle light in the dark.
It also stands out from the rest of the crossover crowd because of its stylish looks and there is plenty of room for four to travel in comfort and you can pack in five for shorter journeys.
A smart steering wheel houses the usual push-button controls while the dashboard layout is typical Ford with a central display screen for connectivity and sat nav but it also comes fitted with a smart TFT instrument cluster and a huge amount of equipment.
The seats are very comfortable and fully adjustable and there is good all-round visibility. As in all Fords the switches and controls are clear and easy to read and use. There is even a traditional handbrake which is a bit of a surprise.
A Quickclear heated windscreen is ideal for winter motoring and there is a decent sound system as well as Ford SYNC 3 navigation and full smart phone integration.
On the practical side the Puma boasts impressive carrying capacity. The boot is large for a car of this size but comes complete with Ford's MegaBox.
This is an 80-litre storage space which lies beneath the split level boot floor and is ideal for carrying wet sports equipment, muddy wellies or anything else that is liable to cause a mess. It has a drain plug at the bottom and can be hosed out afterwards.
If you need even more space you can collapse the split-folding rear seats to get class-leading room.
A 1.0-litre EcoBoost three cylinder petrol engine linked to mild hybrid technology provides the power and it is good for 125ps.
As a result the Puma in this version with its automatic six-speed manual box takes 9.8 seconds to tackle the sprint to 62mph before going on to a top speed of 119mph.
According to the official WLTP figures it is capable of as much as 61.4mpg with a low figure of 44.8mpg and I averaged over 50mpg during many miles of mixed driving.
You get lots of advanced driver assistance aids like cruise control and pre-collision assist plus lane departure warning andhandy drive modes for Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Trail conditions.
You also get autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian/cyclist detection and hill star assist
This model features exclusive 17-inch alloys, privacy glass for the rear costing £250 extra, front fog lights with cornering lights and LED rear lamps.
I liked this Puma and it was a fun car to drive with great handling and a comfortable ride with its standard suspension.